‘If only’ is a phrase that makes me sad, so I stopped using it.

If only’ This phrase makes me so sad when I hear it. To me it implies regret. Regret is no good for anyone who wants to move forward. You can’t change what has been, only what is happening right now and what is to come, the next page is unwritten and you hold the pen.

Here are five choices that I used to make that ultimately led to this phrase of regret. After reading this you may find that you also make these choices, if you do, today is the first day of the rest of your life. Don’t make the same mistakes I did!

1.  Wearing a mask in order to impress others.

My makeup was my mask. As I put it on every morning I felt myself transforming into the person I though the world wanted to see. One day I was with a dear friend and she commented that she never saw me without make-up, I told her the work story and she said something that changed the way I looked at myself in an instant… she said ‘If the face you always show the world is a mask, aren’t you worried that someday there will be nothing beneath it’ Wow! What a statement! However, it got me thinking and I came to this conclusion, when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, you eventually forget who you really are.  So my advice to you is… don’t fear the judgments of others; you know deep down who you are.  You don’t have to be perfect to impress people, nobody is, let them be impressed by how you deal with your imperfections.

2.  Keeping company that has a negative impact.

You can act, or you can react. Acting means that you are in control, reacting means that you have given control to that other person. Don’t let someone who has a bad attitude give it to you and more importantly, don’t let them get to you.  They can’t pull the trigger if you don’t hand them the gun!  Keeping the company of negative people is a choice, only you can decide whether to free yourself of that negativity or to continue living your life in this cycle. I personally like to keep the company of compassion instead of anger, generosity instead of greed, and patience instead of anxiety. Only you can make the change but remember if someone is negative towards you, you are choosing to keep their company so don’t moan about it!

3.  Settling for less than you know you deserve.

Often settling is the easy option, there is no hurt, conflict or anger, it is the easy way out, however you will never be truly happy. Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to fight for what you deserve.  Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before.  Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again.  Don’t settle, and if you do, remember you are choosing this so you have to take accountability.

4. Putting off until tomorrow what you can do today.

We always think we have more time than we do. I’ll start my diet tomorrow, I will give up smoking on the first of the month, why? If you want to lose weight, why not today, what is so special about tomorrow?? If you want to give up smoking why wait until a specific date, what makes the first of the month the day you will succeed?  One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things you’ve always wanted to do. No-one knows what is around the corner.  It’s often at that point you look back on your life and you will have either achieved the goals you set for yourself, or you will have a list of excuses for why you haven’t. You know the saying, tomorrow never comes, why not start today?

5.  Being lazy and doing nothing.

I was talking to a cancer survivor (second time) late last year and I said to her ‘you are a lovely person, I don’t know why this is happening to you again’ her reply… ‘why not me, I’m no-one special, we are all just human being at the end of the day, the world doesn’t owe me anything. There is no point feeling sorry for myself and daydreaming about what could have been, this is reality, this is my life and I will fight for it with everything I have got’ what an amazing attitude! It also got me thinking, no one will take control of my life for me, no one will get me up in the morning and fight for me, that is down to me, being lazy will get me no-where. So my advice to you…   So stop daydreaming and start DOING.  Develop a backbone, not a wishbone.  Take full responsibility for your life and take control.  You are important and you are needed.  It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday.  Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU.